Stories tagged with Africa

Dec 12, 2009 TG Togo

Women and Associations for Gain both Economic and Social (WAGES). My host MFI for the next 4 months.

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

As I sat in Charles de Gaulle airport waiting for my flight to Lomé, I had already begun to feel out of place. My hair was carelessly sitting around my shoulders, I was wearing old yoga pants and a new pair of Converse, and I was munching on my mother’s half-squished Christmas cake. I looked around me at the crowd gathering to board the...

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Dec 12, 2009 KE Kenya

Jua Kali translates as under the hot sun in Kiswahili but in Kenya it’s a term meant to describe businesses in the “informal sector.” Jua Kali businesses have slightly less infrastructure than your typical lemonade stand. Often times they are just a blanket or some plastic sheeting on the ground, secured with rocks and displaying some limited inventory. The business location is the side of the road or a front stoop (though it still requires a permit).

Sicily has had a used clothing store for the...

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Dec 12, 2009 SN Senegal

By Nicki Goh, KF9 Senegal

After more than 2 months of waiting, the time has finally come for me to put into practice all that I learned back at the KF9 training week in San Francisco. As I sit here at the beginning of my second week working at Senegal Ecovillage Microfinance (SEM) I remember the nervous anticipation and excitement that I felt back in September when I embarked upon this Kiva journey – a journey which has so far included two flights and 3000 miles in a converted Army truck.

During the past 5 weeks that I have spent travelling through West Africa prior...

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Dec 12, 2009 KE Kenya

By Anne Hector, KF9, Kenya

At two months into my Kiva fellowship (and woefully late on my blogs…),  I have now interviewed more than 50 micro-borrowers.  The individuals I have met are always moving and impressive, but Jeska Silivano Mlanya truly stands out for her strength, warmth, and resourcefulness.   Just take a moment and look at that face…!

When I visited the SMEP Mombasa branch to train and went out to the field with Beatrice Mbwika, she said, “I have the perfect client for you to meet.  This is my favorite borrower. “...

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Dec 12, 2009 KE Kenya

By Hanna Azemati, KF9 Kenya

Nairobi is dangerous, polluted and sinister. Nairobi is generous, beautiful and lively.

I woke up on my third morning in Nairobi to the twittering of a myriad of birds intermingled with roosters crowing, the occasional neighbors greeting one another in Swahili and finally the church bells announcing that I could go back to sleep as it was only 6 am.

But it seems to be as early as this that the city wakes up and gets to work. So I too woke up and decided to explore the Upper Hill neighborhood, where I...

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Dec 12, 2009 SL Sierra Leone

by Stephanie Meyer, KF9, Sierra Leone

I first met Santos through a mutual friend of ours, Dan, who is here in Makeni working at the orthopedic clinic in town (almost exclusively with amputees). Like many of the adult amputees here in Sierra Leone, Santos has a harrowing war-story to tell that reads like something straight out of the film “Blood Diamond”. This is not what is striking about him, however.

What is amazing about Santos is his ability to thrive. He lives just outside Makeni in the Oslo Amputee Settlement. Oslo...

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Dec 12, 2009 SN Senegal
Ilmari Soininen KF9  UIMCEC Senegal


Many developing countries were just beginning to recover from the havoc caused by sky-rocketing food and fuel prices, when the last F-bomb hit – the financial crisis. A year in, what are the effects on Kiva’s borrowers, partner MFIs and the diverse array of countries we work in? Is there reason for optimism for the future?

Credit institutions issuing loans to local clients and then shuffling the risk to investors in the four corners of the world – hmmmm sounds oddly familiar. Fret not, Kiva is not responsible for the...

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Dec 12, 2009 RW Rwanda

Gavin Sword KF9, Rwanda

Children are adaptable – this is what I have learned since my first post on our kids’ experience in Rwanda.  Christian and Savilla are different people than when we arrived and they have become accustomed to life in Rwanda.  Cold baths are met with resignation if not acceptance.  They now get excited when they see bugs and like to pick them up and give them names.  And the mosquito nets are cool now, like a special fort (for my son) or a princess’ veil (for my daughter).  This was NOT how they were in our first few weeks here. It is time for them to...

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Nov 11, 2009 RW Rwanda

Gavin Sword KF9 Rwanda

There is a TV show that profiles treacherous jobs around the world, the episode i recall was one about Alaskan King Crab Fishermen.  These brave men (typically) work night and day in stormy seas on slippery decks in frigid waters.  The ships are rocking violently with waves crashing over the decks – death just a misstep away.

Here in Rwanda on my drive to work each day, I see women who are employed as Street Sweepers doing a job that rivals the dangers faced by the men on these Alaskan...

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Nov 11, 2009

By KF9, All Over The World

Happy Thanksgiving!  We KF9′ers thought we’d put together a collection of thoughts on Thanksgiving (sorry to those who don’t partake in Turkey day!) from our respective locations all over the world.  While we may not get to celebrate in our traditional way or be with family, I think its safe to say we are all extremely thankful for the opportunity to serve as Kiva Fellows and to have such wonderful readers on this blog! Happy Thanksgiving to all, and gobble gobble.

In no particular order:

Alana Solimeo, KF9...

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